Willow growing guide
Growing willow hybrid unrooted cuttings sets in short rotation coppice is the most effective and fastest way to grow your own wood fuel. Willow logs can be use in wood burners or log boilers. Willow short rotation coppice is already used in industrial scalewood fuel production for power stations, as chip. Domestic woodchip boilers are also increasingly becoming more popular.
Both planting and harvesting the wood fuel crop is straight forward and can be done without expensive specialist equipment (if done) on a small domestic scale.
Harvesting the wood fuel is done near ground level, easy to cut and access. The size of logs produced between 3 to 5 years after initial cut back will vary from 2 to 4 inches in diameter, no need to split logs. You can adjust the harvesting to suit your requirements or the size of your wood burner.
By dividing your coppice into four sections and harvesting in rotation you will have a ready supply of logs, year after year.
wood fuel kits, We are an excellent way to try growing your own wood fuel. They include willow setts, ground cover matting MYPEX, ground pegs, and full instructions.
SIMPLE AS A,B,C - PLANTTING PLAN
|A. Laydown the groundcover sheeting MYPEX and peg it down every metre approx.
B. Make a planting hole with metal rod cutting through the ground cover. 12 inch long setts =depth of 9 inches.
C. Place the sett in the hole. And Place peg near to the sett.
We cut and prepare the willow setts fresh to order and deliver within 2 hours after cutting usually. We do this to ensure that your will in prime condition.
1. It is important that the unrooted cuttings are planted as quickly as possible. HANDY TIPS! soaking for a few hours prior, to ensure any moisture lost in transit is replaced.
2. If you can't plant immediately store them in a cool shady place
3. If hot weather or drying wind prevails the setts must be kept moist by placing them in water for a few hours. The willow setts must not be allowed to produce white roots even if kept in water as these will be very fragile and will be knocked off when planting. Planting should be completed by the end of March.
HOW TO PLANT YOUR WILLOW
Willow can be grown successfully on a wide range of soil types 1. Exceptions? Very wet soil which remains waterlogged for most of the year can prevent some unrooted cutting from forming roots. 2. Very dry soils are best avoided.
We recommend that a mixture of varieties is used to maximise crop yield and reduce the risk of disease (i.e. rust) and insect damage.
We using mypex. Mypex a woven black plastic ground cover mat placed directly onto mown grass land (no digging or weeding required). The matting will need to be pegged using pegs at one metre intervals, or weighed down to the ground to prevent the wind or strong weeds from lifting it. Alternative ground cover include silage wrap, starch bio ground cover, natural mulches, hemp matting etc. Mypex will prevent for as long as it takes for the willow to establish a canopy, which will prevent light reaching the weeds. Our vigorous varietes of willow will achieve a closed canopy in 2 years after the initial cut back and will starve the weeds of light.
1. The 1 foot setts should be planted so that 3 inches is visible above ground level. A metal rod 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch diameter should be used to make a hole the width of the setts (some varieties of willow tend to have wide setts, others are finer). A crow bar, or Ree Bar metal reinforcing bar will all do. The metal rod needs to be hammered into the ground leaving a planting hole 9 inches deep. Place the sett in the hole, with the tiny buds pointing upwards. When using a weed suppressing membrane hammer through the membrane, little extra effort.
Our willow packs are clearly marked for correct position. Plant this way up
It is also advisable to pin down or weigh down the Mypex near to the setts (2 inches/5cm away), to prevent the wind blowing the Mypex up. You can also use stones as weights
1. It is important that the setts do not dry out following planting. Mypex will using a plastic membrane mat to plant through will retain the moisture.
Why do we recommend using Mypex?
2. Newly planted willows are highly sensitive to weed competion. Use of Mypex will avoid this potential problem.
sett = unrooted willow cutting
woven black plastic groung cover mol
cutback = coppice
CUT BACK AFTER (COPICE) THE FIRST YEAR
If you require a dense screen or a shelterbelt, or are growing willow for fuel ,then cut back growth to 4 cms above ground level at end of the first year, this will encourage the new shoots form the base.
No fertilisers are required to grow willow.
When do I coppice?
A: During winter months
We supply wood fuel kits which contain the willow setts the mypex, pegs and planting instructions.
The diagram below shows the spacing that is recommended for wood fuel production. Grass / weeds between the ground cover may require cutting in the first 2 years, but is beneficial as it provides cover for beneficial insects.
WOOD FUEL PLANTING PLAN
SCREENING SHELTERBELTS AND SCREENING
For screening and shelterbelts we recommend spacing according to the following diagram. We can recommend differnet plant spacing for screening and shelterbelts please contact usfor further details.
Wood Fuel Kits: